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Chhattisgarh chief minister's deputy secretary arrested by ED

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The Income Tax Department had unearthed an alleged hawala racket of over Rs 100 crore after it recently conducted raids in Chhattisgarh's capital city of Raipur.

New Delhi, Dec 02: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday arrested Saumya Chaurasia, a deputy secretary posted in Chhattisgarh chief minister's office, in a money laundering case.

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Chaurasia, considered a powerful bureaucrat of the state, was taken into custody under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) post her questioning by the federal agency.

The agency had in October arrested Sameer Vishnoi, an IAS officer of the state, and two others, after conducting several raids in the case.

The money laundering investigation, launched after the ED took cognisance of a Income Tax department complaint, pertains to "a massive scam in which illegal levy of Rs 25 per tonne is being extorted from every tonne of coal transported in Chhattisgarh by a cartel involving senior bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians and middlemen."

Baghel, last week while speaking to reporters, stepped up his attack on the ED, accusing the probe agency of crossing its limits and treating people inhumanely in the state.

In June last year, the Income Tax Department had unearthed an alleged hawala racket of over Rs 100 crore after it recently conducted raids in Chhattisgarh's capital city of Raipur.

It said the searches were carried out on June 21 on four premises of an unidentified "hawala dealer" based in the city, after the department received "specific" actionable intelligence on his alleged illegal operations.

"The modus operandi involved not only giving accommodation entries of sale, purchase etc to people, but also transportation and end-use facilitation of unaccounted money.

"A number of digital devices in the form of a computer hard disc and pen drives having details of hawala transactions have been seized," the CBDT said in a statement issued here.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which frames policy for the tax department, added that the investigators also seized "unaccounted" cash of about Rs 6 crore during the raids.

Hawala means out-of-book cash transactions and movement of funds by skipping banking channels.There are a set of hawala brokers who are usually called as hawaladars who collect the money. Once the money is handed over it is the duty of the hawaladar to contact his agent in another country. The money is then moved to the agent who is also given a password which needs to be quoted by the person intended to receive the money.

with PTI inputs

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